Thursday, May 24, 2012

They're Not Going to Like You Anyway...

Middle school and high school were hard.  Not academically, but socially.  I wanted to be accepted, but I picked the exact wrong people to want to be accepted by...the "popular" people.  One of the popular students was G who did it by being the stooge.  Always willing to be the butt of  jokes, willing to poke fun at himself in a painful way, he was one of them.  And at the time, I was jealous.    Now I wonder why I could have been so stupid - equating popularity, even at the expense of humiliation, with something desirable.

The best piece of advice that I ever gave to Stubble (other than, "change your underwear regularly") was, "Don't waste your time.  Find people you like, who like you, and concentrate on them."

Trying to fit in, I did things that I am not particularly proud of 40 years later. What I didn't realize at the time was that the acceptance was a shifting thing..even for those who were a part of it.  It varied from year to year, depending on such things as whether or not your dad had been promoted (bad), your grades (good was bad), or your boyfriend/girlfriend.  It took me years (until right now, as I write this) to feel sorry for the girl who was one week a member in good standing of the popular crowd; but after being dumped by her boyfriend of two years, was suddenly 'out of favor'.
It was all based on whim and happenstance and fed by a sense on power on one side and of wistful longing on the other.

And it was enormously destructive.

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